Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Antique Bed


QUESTION: Mr. Klein,
I hope I am close to the person that can provide information on a family bed we consider to be mid 19th century or older. I have had a very hard time finding anything that seems to get close.

The details are what we call a spindle, acorn bed. The head board and footer are the 'same height', almost five feet, that is where the difference seems to come in. On top of the corners are the turned acorn shaped pieces and are removable. The spindles are about two feet in height and are connected to spindles that attach to each of the corner bed posts. The size is a little larger than a regular size bed but to narrow for a queen size mattress. Easy to see that all spindles are hand milled, none of them are the exact shape and size. There are thirteen spindles between the posts on the head board and footer, seems to be several more than others I've seen.
The reason we seem to think it is somewhat old is that all construction is made with square head nails, no screws. and metal mounts that connect the side rails to the head board and footer, with metal fittings in the side rails. Easy to see these are also hand cast.

Forgive me for all this detail but wanting to find any information that can get close to age and possible builders company. I greatly appreciate any help you can provide

rail attachment
rail attachment  
rail attachment
rail attachment  
ANSWER: please repost with pictures for assistance--you may use the followup function.

full view or head and foot
one pic of the cast metal male and female parts that hold the rails.
i know ht head and foot detach from the side rails but does the head and foot also come apart on their own?

i will be asking for more pictures after seeing what i have requested.
without writing on the bed no one can tell you the builder or manufacturer, even in the early 1800s there were factories turning out furniture.

we will start with the pictures of head and foot and of the fasteners.

i feel they are like the pictures i am going  to attempt attaching to the post.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Antique Bed
Antique Bed  
Antique Bed
Antique Bed  
QUESTION: Attached are pictures. I will send another two I think you need to see the difference from the photos you sent.

ANSWER: the recessed cast piece is like the ones in the photo i attached except yours is old and i showed you the repros.  the male portion i showed you that has the cleats that fit into the top slot then drop into the narrow slot to lock are pretty much the same.  they were done in one of two ways or configurations, the male part which is the cleated part you see are pretty much the same in all configurations but the rear or part you do not see are usually done in that round or horseshoe shape.  the other configuration behind the part you see, the cleats, is also done in straight round cast cylinders that go into the end of the rail.  the other repro ones are copies of originals for the part that go into the head and foot but the part in the rail i have never seen in old beds.

the bed is called a spool bed or bobbin turned bed.  spool bed is the more widely accepted and more visually recognizable term.  

these were made in many configurations as to height and form.  a few had canopies, most did not some had higher headboards some were like yours with it being the same height, the ones like yours to me, are more desirable.  also the turnings on yours are better.  the more pointed the crest of the turning the more skill is shown in the turning.  ones with shallow troughs and low crests are less desirable and done with less skill.

this is not a one of a kind but that doesnt matter, remember there were factories going back to the late 1700s churning out furniture although not factories as we view them today.

the acorn is a nice touch, but not as common on these as on the earlier four poster beds.

if the bed is tight and waxed and in a retail store it would be priced around 1200$.
as to age, these were made for several decades but yours would be at the earlier part of popularity around 1860.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks very much for your information, greatly appreciate your time and knowledge.
One last question. As I look at the inside of the rails I see there is no type of finish and the color is not black as most of the other spools are. Is it fair to say that over time that the wax or stain turn black due to age?
I ask this because I want to restore as close to original finish. I have no plans for resale. With no finish on the inside of rails I can better see the raw wood and do not know what it might be. Its somewhat dark, maybe walnut or what do you think!

Thanks again!

I was unable to see the wood grain in any of the pictures but if you would send a picture to my email of any areas where the grain can be seen i will try to help.  cant go on color, must see grain details.  picture needs to be clear and in focus to see the grain.  copy the post so i will know what the picture referres to.

some of these beds are walnut, many are cherry or tulip poplar.  some woods turn dark over time but mostly the coatings turn dark or someone in the past has used linseed oil which will crosslink and turn dark.  I recommend that you spend about 4 hours and use wax as your cleaner and coating from this point forward.

waxes without mineral oil and without silicone are the choices.
Briwax, beaute, johnsons floor paste wax are good choices.  just follow directions.

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


robert klein


In regards to American antique, vintage and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing, and value. I do not study mid century and later furniture nor do I deal in lamps, and other smalls. You may ask for values and I will give you current market values, I will not give you 'feel good' values. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to market value. If you want a feel good, unrealistic number, please call a local inexperienced appraiser. It is my desire to help you and in doing so I increase my knowledge as well. For that I thank you.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars by various organizations, institutions, and private collectors.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

Past/Present Clients

©2017 All rights reserved.